EXCLUSIVE By Pete O’Rourke
Everton defender Cuco Martina is closing in on a season-long loan move to Stoke City, Football Insider sources understands.
The Premier League club are happy to let Martina leave as he does not figure in Marco Silva’s long-term plans at Goodison Park and he has been training away from the first-team at their Finch Farm headquarters.
Martina, 28, joined Everton last summer on a free transfer from Southampton and he made 21 appearances before losing his place in the side following Seamus Coleman’s return to fitness.
A number of Championship clubs have been linked with former Southampton defender Martina, but a well-placed source has told Football Insider that Stoke are in pole position to land the full-back after holding advanced talks.
Stoke boss Gary Rowett is keen to bolster his defensive options after a difficult start to life in the Championship and Martina’s versatility in that he can play anywhere across the backline appeals to Rowett.
Martina will become the second Everton player to join Stoke on loan following the arrival of Ashley Williams earlier this summer.
In other news, the giants have opened TALKS to sign a centre-back.